Another day, another great round at the WGC-Mexico Championship. I'll expound on how I feel about this event below, but for now let's jump into a third round that included a new course record, new top of the leaderboard and sets up for what should be yet another entertaining Sunday in a year full of them.
First place -- Justin Thomas (-15): He's played great at this course throughout his career, but after a bogey at the first hole on a day when the field average was a half stroke under par, things didn't look great. So of course he played the next 16 holes in 8 under before bogeying the last for a 6-under 65. It wasn't the round of the day (we'll get to that below), but it was tied for a second-best. Given J.T.'s starting spot on this board coming into Sunday, it was plenty.
Round of the day -- Jon Rahm (61): Rahm snagged the new course record at Golf Club de Chapultepec with his 10-under 61 that included an ace on the 17th hole. Incredibly, Rahm's 61 included a bogey. Unsurprisingly, it vaulted him into a tie for fourth on the leaderboard. The 27-hole heater he's on is the best of the tournament. After making the turn on Friday (not Thursday but Friday) at 4 over, Rahm has played his last 27 holes in 15 under and is suddenly four back of the lead. I don't think he can sustain that on Sunday in the final round, but it's been an absolute show.
Who can catch Thomas -- Patrick Reed (-14), van Rooyen (-14), Bryson DeChambeau (-11), Rory McIlroy (-11), Jon Rahm (-11): McIlroy is the most dangerous of the bunch obviously, but he's also four back with three guys in front of him. He remains fifth in the field from tee to green but his putting has fallen off the last two days. Reed seems like Thomas' biggest threat here. He's hitting it really well for him, and he'll be, uh, extra motivated because of all the chatter around him and his play over the last few weeks.
Shot of the day: Has to be Rahm's ace, right?
Closing time: J.T. is a certified closer. Not everybody wants the ball late on Sundays when the air gets a little thinner (not just because of the altitude this golf course was built at), but Thomas does. That's why his 54-hole lead numbers look like this. That's why he's the -110 favorite, according to William Hill Sportsbook.
What a win would mean for Thomas: It would be his third of the season and 11th in the last 38 months. His trajectory as a 26-year-old is ludicrous and one I'm not sure we totally appreciate. This would also be his second WGC win (to go with Bridgestone) after three straight top 10s here at this course, including a playoff loss to Phil Mickelson two years ago.
Underrated Mexico: Listen, I know it's not Riviera, but for the fourth straight year we've gotten a terrific tournament here. First year, it was Dustin Johnson vs. Tommy Fleetwood. Then we got Mickelson-Thomas in a playoff. Last year, D.J. lapped Rory. This year, it's J.T. again with an armada of chasers. Interestingly, this course often causes separation at the top of the board, which is the characteristic of a great course (which it is not). I remain confused about how to feel about all of this other than the fact that I know I love this tournament.
Prediction for Day 4: I'm definitely going to regret this, but I'm kind of feeling a Reed 66 tomorrow with Reed-Rory-Thomas finishing 1-2-3.